Top NM attorneys expected to be charged in ‘Rust’ shooting

(NewsNation) — New Mexico prosecutors will announce Thursday whether criminal charges will be filed against anyone in the fatal shooting in the 2021 movie “Rust.”

The decision by First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies will come nearly 16 months after actor Alec Baldwin fired a loaded gun on set, killing the actor. film Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. Baldwin said he did not pull the trigger, although a FBI report objected to this text.

Carmack-Altwies will announce the decision in a written statement at 11 a.m. ET, his office said in a statement. Facebook post Wednesday. There will be no press release or press release.

“Regardless of the District Attorney’s decision, the announcement will be a solemn ceremony, done in a manner consistent with the office’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the court. and out of respect to the victim’s family,” said Heather Brewer, spokeswoman for the First District Attorney’s office.

In the months that followed the shooting of October 21, 2021, investigations by the police and state officials revealed many problems with security at the set. Of the the production company was fined by the state Office of Health and Safety, and the FBI report found the guns to be fragile.

At the meeting in September, the district attorney’s office said that one of the four people may be charged and asked the state for $600,000 to fund its investigation.

Jennifer Burrill, president-elect of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, expects the state to pursue first-degree murder charges against Baldwin.

“I don’t think they’re going to ask for $600,000 in funding if they don’t think they’re going to make enough progress on that,” Burrill said Wednesday on “Dan Abrams Live .” “I think it’s better to settle on reckless use of a deadly weapon, which is a felony. But I think they’re probably going to go up to a fourth-degree felony (intentional murder), or and trying to do it.”

While Burrill believes the state will pursue involuntary manslaughter charges, he isn’t sure a grand jury will be compelled. Government law, he said, requires a notice to be given within 24 hours of the judge’s decision, “and nothing was filed that we were not informed about. “

“Perhaps they have already taken this to the grand jury before it was presented to the court, and there has been no information that a key notice has reached any of the suspects in this case, that doesn’t seem to be happening. ” Burrill said.

Unlike a grand jury, prosecutors can go before a judge to confirm the charges, which is the way Burrill would choose if he were a lawyer in this case.

“They’ve made the decision to try this in the media, and now everyone in this community is getting a lot of information,” Burrill said. “What we haven’t seen in spite of everything that has been revealed is that anything that has been revealed was intentional, and that’s why a lot of people want to see criminal charges. This appears to be pure negligence.”

Another person expected to be charged is Jennifer Coffindaffer, a former FBI agent. He said Wednesday on “CUOMO” that these are “unbelievable” charges that have never been made before.

“It was an accident, it was an accident, but a life was saved, and it was caused by the failure to properly check the gun, to make sure it was not full of bullets, ” said Coffindaffer. “I think it’s very possible (Baldwin is charged). He was the one who fired the gun and he, in my opinion, was not truthful about pulling that trigger.

Baldwin blames the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was responsible for seeing the weapons and ammunition on the set. He said that civil court that Gutierrez-Reed and other members of the crew acted negligently by giving him a loaded gun but declared it safe.

Also cited in that lawsuit are David Halls, an assistant director, and Sarah Zachry, who Baldwin alleges “failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed acted recklessly on set.”

Baldwin’s story that day is listed in what is known as a counter-complaint filed against him by Mamie Mitchell, who sued Baldwin and the production company for emotional distress. Gutierrez-Reed, Zachry and Halls are all listed as defendants in the original suit.

Baldwin’s attorneys said he did not know the gun was loaded, and therefore should not be held liable.

“Actually, (Gutierrez-Reed) told Baldwin that’s it he work to check the gun – not his,” said the complaint. “Also, Baldwin believed, based on the previous gun safety training he had received on action sets, that he should to players. no secret gun check for live ammunition.”

Gutierrez Reed’s attorney said the gunman did not put a live ammunition in the gun that killed Hutchins, and believes he was involved in sabotage. Authorities say they haven’t found any evidence of that.

NewsNation affiliate KRQE contributed to this report.

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